The right pair of riding pants is an essential part of your ticket to riding your horse in comfort. Jodhpurs, like all types of riding pants, should fit comfortably and provide you with the range of motion you need to get on and off the horse.
As an essential part of equestrian clothing, jodhpurs should also keep you safe.
In this article, we dive into the history of jodhpurs and the differences between jodhs (as horsey people call them), breeches, and riding tights. We’ve also tested the four best jodhpur pants on the market, and we share all the details.
The History of Jodhpurs
Let’s start with the name. Jodphur is the capital city of Marwar or modern-day Rajasthan, western India. In 1495, Roa Jodha founded the city. The founder belonged to the Rathore clan of Rajputs, who were a warrior class. During peaceful times, the Rajputs practiced and mastered Polo.
In the late 1800s, an avid Polo player called Sir Pratap Singh wasn’t happy with the style of breeches at the time. So he planned to create trousers that would be more suited to his needs as a Polo player.
From the long Indian pants, called churidar, Singh lengthened the distance from the waist to the ankle. The pant legs became tighter around the calf and baggy or looser around the hips to accommodate the free movement he needed to ride. The material of the trousers was also reinforced at the knee and inner calf. The purpose was to protect the pants from rubbing against the saddle.
In 1890, the first pair of jodhpurs was tailored. It was made from thick cotton twill. Jodhpurs became popular amongst Polo players.
The introduction of these riding trousers in the west happened in 1897 when Singh’s Polo team traveled to the United Kingdom. They wanted to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The British saw the advantages that jodhpurs present when horseback riding. And so, these pants were adopted by the Brits, and from there, their use spread.
The Jodhpurs of Today
No longer made from thick cotton twill, the jodhpurs of today are usually made from Lycra. The design is also more streamlined since these riding pants resemble skinny jeans or leggings.
Classic jodhpurs flare at the hips and are tailored toward the calves. Under the instep, the jodhpur pants end in a cuff.
Modern designs remove the flare because the jodhs are made from stretch fabric. However, even without the flare, the riding pants allow for the freedom of movement and support Singh envisioned.
What Are Jodhpurs?
From all this info, you know what jodhpurs are. But to recap, they are tight-fitting riding pants that provide elastic support. With the supportive waist, jodhs hold your tummy in and support your back.
They are also padded or reinforced around the inside knees so you don’t rub against your saddle. Or if you do, you don’t develop sores or chafe.
Some jodhs have added grip around the knees and under your bottom to keep you from sliding out of your saddle.
A horse rider wears jodhpurs with short boots and jodhpur clips to prevent them from riding up. You can, however, also wear them with tall riding boots.
Jodhpurs vs Breeches vs Riding Tights
While horsey people generally use jodhpurs, breeches, and even riding tights interchangeably, they aren’t the same.
Key characteristics of jodhpurs
- Seen as casual
- Full-length pants
- Have excess material at your ankles that need to be rolled up or they are cuffed at the ankle
- Feature an elastic strap that’s worn underneath the boot to keep the pants from riding up
- Available in zip front, pull-on, regular waist, and low-rise styles
- Usually worn by children during riding lessons or adults who are riding for fun
Key characteristics of riding breeches
- Seen as more formal riding pants
- Not full-length pants, stopping above your ankle
- Sit flat against your calf, so wear them with tall boots
- Commonly worn among adult equestrians, especially those partaking in events
Key characteristics of riding tights
- The equivalent of yoga pants for equestrians
- Thinner than jodhpurs
- Sporty, pull-up version of jodhpurs
- Can be worn with short or tall boots
Full Seat Pants
Another notable feature is that some riding trousers (jodhpurs, breeches, and tights) have is that they are full seat pants. This means the pants are grip-enhancing with silicone, suede, or leather where they come into contact with the saddle. This keeps the rider secure in the saddle while promoting hip and leg stillness.
These sticky seat trousers or full seat pants are ideal for riding spooky, young, or sensitive horses. The con of these pants is that they restrict freedom of movement, making it challenging for the rider to adjust their seat and upper legs (or thighs). Riders like sticky seat pants if they do hacking or dressage.
Knee Patch Riding Trousers
Then there’s also knee patch riding trousers in which the inner knees are made from grip-enhancing materials like suede or silicone. These trousers promote lower leg stillness. Riders prefer knee patch riding trousers when they partake in jumping disciplines.
3 Best Jodhpurs for Horse Riding (Our Review)
HR Farm Women’s Full Seat Silicone Grip Breeches Horse Riding Jodhpurs (Best Overall)
- If you don't know which size to ware, please contact us for suggestion.
- Four-sided stretchable, breathable & hard wearing fabric
- High-quality full seat silicone grip, silicone won't fall off
- Two front pockets and two back zip pockets
- Machine Washable,Wash Inside Out with Similar Colors
The HR Farm Women's Full Seat Silicone Grip Breeches Horse Riding Jodhpurs is our best overall jodhpurs. They come in a variety of colors: beige, dark gray, gray/silver, gray, navy, white, black, black/gray, black/pink, and navy blue. We really like the black with the accents and the gray/silver for a sportier look.
The jodhpurs feature belt loops, a front zip, two front pockets, and two back pockets. To keep you in your saddle, the pants have a full seat silicone grip that also runs down the thigh to end mid-calf. The lower calf area of the jodhs has an ergonomic elastic sock bottom for a streamlined and comfortable fit.
- Comes in 8 sizes: 22-34
- Available in 10 colors
- Stretchable and breathable fabric
- Easy to wash (machine washable)
- Bottom leg part can be too loose,for others it might be too tight
- Not a great size range
TuffRider Ladies Cotton Jodhpurs (Best Budget)
The TuffRider Ladies Cotton Jodhpurs are made from a comfortable and breathable fabric. It’s a spandex and cotton mix.
There’s an ultragripp flex patch on the knees, which helps you grip the saddle and prevents bunching.
There are also belt loops, so you can adjust the waistband to fit comfortably. The jodhs also have one front pocket.
- Comes in 5 sizes: 26-34
- Available in 2 colors: black and light tan
- Durable and breathable fabric
- No bunching while you ride with the knee patches
- Features removable straps
- Not many color options available
- Zippers can become defective
HORZE Active Women’s Horse Riding Silicone Grip Full Seat (Best Full Seat Jodhpurs)
- SILICONE GRIP - These jodhpurs for ladies, are the comfortable riding breeches choice for everyday riding. with the Silicone Full Seat, they have extra grip in the saddle, making them the perfect pair for schooling
- EXTREME COMFORT - Soft breeches with grip print at seat area keep you secure in the saddle.
- STORE YOUR TREASURES - One zipper pocket at front is handy for keeping keys or treats.
- NO BULK - Elastic leg bottoms stay smooth under boots for a comfortable, sleek fit.
- MOVE WHILE YOU RIDE - The stretch fabric guarantees freedom of movement and helps you ride with ease. The fabric won't bind or get baggy.
The HORZE Active Women's Horse Riding Silicone Grip Full Seat comes in a variety of colors: black, tan, white, coastal fjord blue/patriot blue, dark navy/tobacco brown, thyme green, peacock dark blue, purple sage, and blue.
The jodhpurs feature a front zip, belt loops, and a front pocket. The pants are made for comfort: 5% elastane and 95% cotton. A polka-dotted silicone grip runs along the mid to bottom part of your seat and then down the inner legs.
The waistband is contoured for comfort, and the unique stretch fabric is water and dirt-repellant. The leg bottoms are elastic so they conform to your calves.
- Comes in 7 sizes: 22-34
- Available in 9 colors
- Flattering fit with form or close-fitting style and mid-rise waist
- Front pocket is ideal to hold a horse treat to reward your horse while riding
- Has a casual, riding tights feel to them
- The silicone may come off if your ride a lot
- Some customers say you should opt for one size smaller than what you normally wear for a comfy fit
Jodhpurs Buyer’s Guide
When you buy jodhpurs, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. These ensure you are buying the best jodhpurs (compared to breeches).
The size of the pants is essential. It’s what ensures your comfort, freedom of movement, and fit.
To find the right size, measure your:
- Waist at the smallest part
- Hip at the widest part (remember to stand with your feet together)
- Inside leg where you measure the whole of your inside leg – from your groin to the base of your foot
Jodhpurs are available in a variety of colors. Opt for darker colors while you school your horse, train, or attend riding lessons.
Formal events may require that you wear riding pants in certain colors. So if you partake in events, then you are limited.
However, make sure your uniform attire (riding pants, shirts, jackets or coat, hat, boots, etc.) meets the requirements of the event you are participating in.
Lastly, consider the jodhpur style.
- Do you prefer the classic waistband or is a low-rise or high-rise better?
- Should the jodhpurs have zip front and belt loops, or be a pull-on?
- Do you have sticky seat jodhs or knee patches, or both?
How to Care for Your Jodhpurs
While some jodhpurs are more affordable than others, they are generally an investment. You want your jodhs to last as long as possible, so taking good care of them is essential.
Always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. In general, take care of your jodhpur pants by:
- Washing them inside out to prevent the colors from fading
- Using a mild washing detergent
- Washing them by hand or in the washing machine on cold wash
- Using a special detergent made for caring for soft leather if the full seats or knee patches are made from leather
- Setting the leather dye (and prevent it from running) by adding a tablespoon of white vinegar when you first wash your jodhs
- Air drying your riding pants
- Not exposing your pants to direct heat or full sunlight, especially when drying them
- Not putting them in the tumble dryer
- Not ironing them
- Using a leather conditioner if the leather patches harden
Are Jodhpurs, Breeches, or Riding Rights Best for You?
How Often You’ll Be Riding Horses
If you ride horses a few times a week, there is more wear and tear on your jodhpurs and breeches. So, if you ride more often, your riding pants need to be of greater quality, which also means they are pricier.
Buy riding tights if you go riding once or twice a week. Or opt for breeches or jodhpurs with a full seat or knee patches.
The Type of Riding You’ll Be Doing
For everyday and casual riding – lessons, hacking, schooling, etc. – any kind of riding trousers work. Choose something that you feel comfortable in.
That means you can opt for any color of pants and even match your outfit with your horse’s saddle and other tack.
Consider the kind of boots you are wearing too. Pair jodhs with paddock boots and breeches with tall riding boots.
If you are participating in eventing, know what kind of attire your discipline subscribes to and buy what you need for events.
The Shape of Your Body
There are riding tights, breeches, and jodhpurs no matter your body shape. A key consideration is the rise. Finding the best rise depends on the length of your torso versus the length between the middle of your crotch and waistband.
Low-rise pants are ideal for riders who are petite or have a short waist. Just remember that you want your backside to remain covered when you are riding. So even if you aren’t petite but like row-rise jeans, low-rise riding pants may not be ideal.
For evenly proportioned riders, classic pants are best since the waistband fits in the middle of your torso. However, if you have short legs and a longer torso, opt for high-rise pants.
There are riding pants to fit every budget. For newbie riders, tights or jodhpurs are recommended.